The Best Production…
…Is the collaborative production. Placing control of the final product into the hands of those who will receive and use that product… produces the “best” product. We listen to “listeners”. In today’s marketplace they are looking for their entertainment dollar to provide the finest “experience” that their money can buy. In audiobooks, that means more than just a story being read to them… you must deliver a “theatre of the mind”… using only sound. It’s a retro experience similar to the golden age of radio when programs like Inner Sanctum, Fibber Magee & Molly, Sky King and the Show of Shows were at the center of family entertainment. Unique characters… voice & sound effects to match the scenes you attempt to create… your book must “come to life”! This is where we excel. Just listen to some of our work… it “speaks” for itself!
Choosing the Right Path
Royalty Share or $$$-per-finished-hour? Which way should you go? It’s not an easy question to answer. On a “Royalty Share” basis the producer and the rights holder will share in BOTH the risk and the reward. It’s takes approximately SIX wall-clock hours to produce a single hour of finished audiobook product. The raw recording, out-take editing, mastering and conversion processes all take time and do not include the recovery of capital invested in the recording studio itself. And what of re-takes, edits or last minute changes? Who corrects any errors that exist in the manuscript? A producer puts a lot on the line with a “Royalty Share” arrangement.
Not sure your book is a “best-seller”? Not willing to place a bet on your own “horse”? Then a Royalty Share contract may be the way to go… but don’t expect to attract the best voice acting talent. You may be lucky and catch a “rising star” as he or she builds their career, but for the most part… the Don LaFontaines of the voice industry will want to be paid for their talent.
On the other hand, if your book turns out to be the next “Harry Potter” you could be giving away a significant part of your retirement nest-egg under the “Royalty Share” arrangement. Little doubt… Stephen King and J.K. Rowling opt for the “Flat-fee-per-finished-hour”… likely paying $1,000 or more PFH for the right voice artist to do their books. Are you the next Hemingway? Buy the voice for a flat rate and keep the rights!
What you should know is that the audio book marketplace is a separate entity with little or no overlap into the market for hardcover or tablet-text releases. Not everyone likes to “curl up” with a good hardcopy book. Commuters, athletes, exercise enthusiasts, travelers, truck drivers and the like are all discovering the benefits of audiobooks… especially as the number of compatible devices grows exponentially. What used to be the proprietary domain of cassette tapes and CD’s… audiobooks can now be found on laptops, tablets, smart-phones, MP3 players, I-pods, I-pads and lord-only-knows-what as we go forward… There’s one company I know that offers a wrist-watch that can play music and audiobooks through Bluetooth earbuds.
Do not limit yourself or your search for a producer by specifying a contract format too soon. Many good or excellent producers will avoid “Royalty Share” arrangements with new authors or those who have less-than-stellar sales numbers on places like Amazon.com. Agree to negotiate a production contract “after” you have found the right voice for the job.
For us “Quality” is much more than just a word to be bantered about. Everyone appears to use it but few organizations deliver anything that comes close to true “Quality Service”. While your project is in production you’ll be given access to our studio and even the cell phone numbers of our producers. Rather than wait until the project is completed for your review and approval… each days studio work is uploaded and you are notified so that you may monitor and “direct” the production while it is being created. We strive to “tell the story”…not just read the book… with complete conviction thus making our voice the author’s voice in such a way as the two become indistinguishable.
Changes, if needed or desired, are identified and made when they are easiest to implement… in real time… or as close to real time as possible. This keeps delays and their inherent costs to a minimum and the “quality” of the product at a maximum. To us… service is all about “responsiveness”. How quickly, efficiently and effectively can we… and will we… respond to the needs and desires of our customers and clients. All it takes is one try and you’ll see what we mean.